I took the kids with me to Iowa this past week, because my Mom was off all week on spring break. She works for a University, so most of the school year she is working, but whenever she gets a good break it's always fun to go see them so we can get all day with both of my parents. The kids were SO excited to go to Iowa, they totally understand what that means and who they get to see. We were very sad to have to leave Daddy at home though, he had a pretty busy week already scheduled so it didn't work for him to go. But it was probably best that we were busy all week because he was gone every night, which would have been irritating if we were waiting at home with nothing to do :)
We stopped at Jennie's house on the way to my parents' and picked up a stranger, Ryley!! Ava and Carter love Ryley and we miss him a lot. It's still such a blessing that he's living at Jennie and Dave's though. I cannot imagine how we would all fit in our condo now that Ava and Carter are always on the move. It's lots of fun for them to see him on a regular basis and to enjoy him still. Trav and I love to see him too and love on him a little bit! They were beside themselves to have him in the car with us, they both leaned over and petted him for the 30 minute drive. I love how big he looks (is) compared to them!
It was spring break in my hometown for all the area schools, so we had lots of fun options to choose from. We took the kids to a children's museum that I'd never seen before. It was a hands-on museum with tons of great stuff for them, they were totally into it!
My Dad is about to start coaching his high school golf teams again, so he was all over the little mini-golf course they had set up. Ava was also into it and after they "played 9 holes" together, she told us all week that "I love golf!" or "Grandpa loves to play golf with Ava, do you want to play golf wif me Grandpa?" You can imagine that was sweet music to his ears :)
Carter also "played" or was at least in the same room as us! He was more into taking other people's balls, walking in front of them while they putted or army crawling under the bridge they had :) We've got some etiquette training to do with him!! Ha ha!
We were in a building that was downtown, on the water. It was a gorgeous day outside and we were able to out everyday this week! I cannnot believe this heat wave we have in March. I'm not complaining AT ALL, it's amazing, but it's so crazy! It was incredible to have the option to be out all week and we took full advantage of it.
My kids LOVE my Mom's dog, Oliver. They call him Ollie and Carter tells him "Hi! Hi! Hi!" a million times a day. Ava has finally reached an age where she knows how to be gentle with him and she loves to pet him and give him kisses. It will make her life complete the day he lets her hold him!
Last summer we turned Ava into a park rat, but this summer it's Carter's turn to get hooked!
We've done lots of playing at an indoor playground throughout the winter, so he knew just what to do on all the equipment. He's proven to us that he's fearless about heights or new things, but it cracks us up that he still does his backwards "safety slide" every time! Don't get me wrong, I'M SO GLAD, it's one less thing to worry about, but it's so funny to watch him tear through the park and then cautiously slide down.
He's got a pro to keep up with though, so I have a feeling he'll be trying lots of new things this year and I'll be in a constant state of panic watching him learn!
Aunt Jennie had to force him to slide on his bottom but he did it!
We also introduced him to the art of swinging!
It started off so pleasantly...
...then quickly became something that made him nervous.
Ava on the other hand, could swing all day! And she did. Also while talking a mile a minute to anyone who would listen!!
She is such a little park nut and is very brave, even from last fall til now. She just does her own thing this year, which is incredible to me that we've reached that stage already! I had to remind her that there are still a few things she needs us to help her do, but mostly she is able to just run around and do all the big stuff on her own. I have a feeling Carter is going to keep me busy enough for the both of them!
We were outside a lot, but they also did lots of playing in my parents' house every morning and night. I adore this picture of the two of them dancing. Our little princess is all about a dance when she's dressed up and now she's started asking Carter to be her partner. Her exact words at this moment were, "Carter, will you hold my hands and dance wif me?" Being the good little brother that he is, he put those little chubby hands out for her to hold and let her spin around with him til he fell and she giggled. So precious. I just love them!!
One afternoon, my sister and Mom and I took the kids downtown for a little stroll AND to our favorite cupcakery, Scratch. Their cupcakes are to die for and this was the first time I'd seen their new location, so it was fun to pull up a table and enjoy a treat together. My Mom bought each of the kids their own cupcake, which was hilarious. They were THRILLED at the sight them! Carter devoured his entirely, literally every crumb!
Ava ate mostly the icing and some of the cupcake. But she was JUST as thrilled to have her own treat WITH sprinkles :)
She looks naughty here, but really she was just being silly. She started announcing to everyone who came near her, "Dis is MY Grammy!" It was pretty funny. Most people didn't catch what she said, but she emphatically told whomever would look her way!
What a ham she is!
I'm not sure she needed any sugar, but she sure loved it!!
Carty was the exact opposite, completely silent while he ate every bite. Afterwards he rubbed his icing coated hands all over his clothes, his hat, the table and anyone who got near him. Good thing he's so darn cute because he was one big mess!!
We love Grammy!!
This was on a random morning when Ava told my sister Jennie to "take my picture" while she put her arm around Carter. Normally that never amounts to a picture *actually* being captured, but this time it did!! And it's my new favorite picture of them!! I just love it. I hope they always will be willing to cuddle up for a picture no matter how old they get!!
This little table and chairs is a family heirloom. It was my aunt Kay's when she was little, so it's 70 some years old. It was at my Grandma's house for years and years where my sisters and I ate at it every Sunday. Then it moved to Minnesota at my aunt's house, where her grandkids used it. Now it's made its' way back to Iowa and my kiddos are using it.
Carter especially loved to climb up in the little chairs and sit at it. This is his favorite book to look at and he always flips through it until he gets to the page with the phone, where he points at it and says, "Hi! Hi! Hi!"
Love seeing them playing together or even coexisting without a fight breaking out!! Ha ha!
That little profile gets me every time...
My sister and I got a little time to do some shopping one afternoon and I found these cute shoes for $6! Gotta love that!
On Friday night, we were able to attend a great benefit night in honor of Dave's Dad, to support their family. It was a fun night with hundreds and hundreds of very generous people attending. It was LOUD the whole time because several bands played. My kids became dancing fools and spent most of their time at the edge of the stage, like little groupies, rocking out and dancing. Did I mention how LOUD it was??? I can't believe they didn't freak out by the noise, since they were right next to the speakers. It was all my Mom and Dad and I could do to stay on top of them. They were WILD all night and I was missing their Daddy's help like crazy! But it was nice to be able to go and see so many people in our community come out and support Dave's family. They auctioned off some great things and it was fun to see lots of people we knew there. I was glad it worked out for us to be there.
And as soon as we got home and changed into our jammies, this is what became of the little dancing queens.
They worked themselves into total exhaustion.
I had NO arguments or resistance to bedtime that night!!
We had such a fun time, thanks Mom and Dad!! It was great to be with Jen and Dave too and to have a week with nothing pressing for our time or attention. But we did miss Travis quite a bit, so we were all happy to come home yesterday afternoon and back to life in Minnesota. We had a busy day at church today and tonight, so I look forward to a quiet day tomorrow, hopefully putting my house back together. I'm so grateful to be within driving distance from my parents. It's always such a treat to go home and just relax. Iowa is such a breath of fresh air sometimes because the pace of life is just generally slower there and less materialistic. Don't get me wrong, I love living in Minnesota and I love being near the cities, but it's so easy to get caught up in a very busy, driven lifestyle here. There is something very peaceful about small towns and cornfields and quiet streets...It's not perfect (or Heaven!) but it's Iowa and I love it.
I hope you have a great start to your week!
Looking forward to warm days at the park with my little family. We are ready for SPRING!!